This is the third chapter in the series, The Lost Abode. To read the second chapter, click here.

After they finished eating, the old lady kindled some wood in her stone fireplace. Then she sat across from the girl as fire crackled and spread its warmth. The day had got colder by then.

“Last time when you had come here, we had read a story of little people, you remember that child?”
“Oh yes nanna. In the story, they had rescued a girl who was abused by her stepmother and had taught the bad mother a lesson.”
“Nicely put kid! So, did you like them, the little people?”
“Yes, they were very cute and funny and I liked the way they pulled off pranks on the stepmother.”
“I am glad that you liked the story and the little people as well. That story was a piece of imagination and I hope you would like this story of them too. Now, let us get back to where we had left.” Nanna gazed at the fire as she resumed.

“Now that you have become familiar with the archimagi kid, let me tell you the story of a striking magus and her life.

Her parents had named her Iris. No one would have imagined at the birth of this little magus that things were going to change in a way that had never happened before and that the laws of their lands would see major amendments since their inception. Everyone celebrated her arrival, their joy was doubled because of the fact that she had an auspicious birth mark – a crown etched on her right palm. It was the mark of an elder. She had been chosen by the spirits to serve her land and be its protector.

Her childhood was no different from that of the other little magi. Her skills were raw and had less control over her powers. To develop her abilities and put them to proper use, she needed mentoring. The archimagi started their formal training only when they turned fifty. At this age, young magi were initiated as magic beginners and were introduced to fifty years of magical study. It was during this period that they were assigned mentors. Under their guidance, they learnt to control their powers and correct hand gestures to perform transformations.”

“And, I had thought that since they are magic people, they would not need to study!” The little girl sounded unimpressed.
“See kid, it’s true that they were born with special abilities, but they could not control their powers or put them to good use without learning the correct ways. It needed practice. So, the experienced archimagi used to guide them, to develop a sense of right and wrong in them. After all, it had taken them ages to learn and perfect this level of control, they just could not let all of it go to waste by not sharing their wisdom and knowledge.” Nanna explained to her the need of magical training.

“All these fairy tales nanna, they are so far from truth, they only tell that fairies, dwarves and little people can do magic. I have not read a single story that tells how they also study and develop those skills.”
“Very true. After all, they are works of imagination child. And, truth is always stranger than fiction, isn’t it?” Nanna smiled at the girl who nodded in agreement.

“Let us get back to our story then. Iris, until she turned old enough to start her training, was guided by her parents. Her father would often teach her how to control the energy present in nature and use her hands to channelize this energy. It required high levels of concentration and will power to accomplish even a simple task of blowing a breeze in otherwise still air. She felt drained out after such sessions and her father would tell her that it needed years of practice to master the subtle art of transformation. Her mother used to tell her stories about the elders, the spirits and also about those who were settled beyond the woods, the humans. She had been told that it was against their law to go near them and expose their tribe’s existence and like other children, was instructed never to go outside the shell that surrounded their settlement. Though she did not tell anyone, but she always had an urge to explore what was out there. The world of humans fascinated her.

Soon came the day when Iris turned fifty. The time for her initiation as a magic beginner had arrived. And, it was on this day that she was told by her father about the significance of the crown on her palm and her impending future, her destiny to be an elder.

It was the day she had waited for so long, she had so many expectations for what lied ahead. But when finally the fiftieth name day came, she found her zeal to be missing and mind unsettled. She felt burdened by her newly discovered future as an elder and the responsibilities she would have to shoulder….”

To be continued.

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